State of the Art

No matter what direction you travel in Wisconsin, there’s an art museum waiting to be explored

John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Based around the idea that art can enrich everyday life, this art center has preserved and exhibited nearly ten thousand works by artists who transform their homes, yards and personal surroundings. Now on display, Animal Magnetism is a series of exhibitions exploring the dynamic and complex relationship between humans and animals.

608 New York Ave., Sheboygan. 920-458-6144,



Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

Set in a 1931 Cotswold-style home, the museum celebrates “art in nature and nature in art” with a collection of more than two thousand bird-themed works. The annual Birds in Art exhibition attracts artists from around the world and runs through November 14. Opening November 20, I Want Candy: The Sweet Stuff in American Art features fifty works from forty contemporary artists on the nation’s love of confections.

700 N. 12th St., Wausau. 715-845-7010,



Milwaukee Art Museum

A work of art itself—with the striking postmodern Quadracci Pavilion addition—this museum dates back to 1888, with a collection including nearly 25,000 works from antiquity to present day. European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century (running October 9 through January 9) features more than 250 products, furniture and other pieces made by 118 Western European designers during the ’80s and ’90s.

700 N. Art Museum Dr., Milwaukee. 414-224-3200,



Museum of Wisconsin Art

While this museum started out to showcase the work of the Milwaukee-born artist Carl von Marr, it has since expanded to highlight the contributions of artists around the state. The museum’s permanent collection ranges from the 1830s to the late twentieth century and includes the significant Early Wisconsin Regional Art Collection. Through November 7, Here at Last! features work by African American artists who teach at Wisconsin colleges and universities.

300 S. 6th Ave., West Bend. 262-334-9638,



Paine Art Center

This historic estate showcases interior design, gardens and a variety of art. The Paines created a large gallery to display pieces from their art collection—significantly, French and American landscape paintings—as well as changing exhibitions ranging from Tiffany lamps, American photography and original work by Norman Rockwell. Opening November 19, “Nutcracker in the Castle” is an annual event that transforms the mansion into scenes from the famous ballet.

1410 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh. 920-235-6903,



Racine Art Museum

One of the top contemporary craft museums in the country, this museum focuses on internationally recognized artists. Its permanent
collection of more than five thousand objects includes three hundred pieces from the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project of the 1930s. Collection Focus in Fibers: John McQueen and Carol Eckert, on display through February 6, features more than twenty-five works by the two well-known fiber artists.

441 Main St., Racine. 262-638-8300,


Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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